Legendary London record shop Honest Jon’s top 10 bass tracks

Legendary reggae, jazz and soul specialist West London record shop, Honest Jons, have kindly supplied us with their phenomenal top 10 bass track recommendations.

Herbie Hancock1. Herbie Hancock – ‘Flood’ (Sony LP)

For the twenty minute version of ‘Hang Up Your Hang Ups’, live as life. Dazzling, raw, tearaway funk, with co-writer Paul Jackson on Fender bass, and Mike Clark, drums.



2. John Edwards – ‘Volume’ (psi CD)

Tremendous, free, solo improvisations on double-bass by the British player, from 2008. Wildly expansive, physical, intimate; plenty of surprises and good humour.



3. Unknown Artist – ‘Welcome To England’ (Out of Many, One People 10″)

Rudeboy drum and bass in the tradition of Congo Natty, detourning Ini Kamoze and Damian Marley into a dread survey of English urban break-down.



4. Kwaku Baah & Ganoua – ‘Trance’ (Island LP)

In between playing conga for Traffic and Can, ‘Reebop’ Baah collaborated on this dazed period-piece, in mid-seventies Tangier. It’s hard at the best of times for a recording to capture the vibrating bass of the Gnawan gimbri, but this has its moments, and compelling atmosphere, ahead of its time.


5. The O’Jays – ‘For The Love Of Money’ (Philadelphia International 12″)

Anthony Jackson! It’s got to be the long version, of course.



6. Yoshi Wada – ‘Earth Horns With Electric Drone’ (EM LP)

A concert recording from 1974, over three LPs. Home-made pipehorns — up to three metres long — combined with an electronic drone: ritual, hypnotic sound-sculpting, with a massive, shifting bum.


7. Knights Of The Turntable – ‘Fresh Mess’ (JDC 12″)

Thrilling, ebullient electro-hip-hop hybrid, cutting and scratching frantically over a Funkadelic sample and mean, fat bass-loop.



8. Winston Francis, Jackie Mittoo & Brentford Rockers – ‘Going To Zion’ (Music Lab 10″)

Sublime Studio One roots reggae. I was lucky enough to meet the bass-player Bagga Walker, when we were making the Soul Jazz documentary. He was so genial, and modest about his huge accomplishments.


9. The Nguni Sound – ‘South Africa And Swaziland, 1955, ‘57, ‘58’ (SWP CD)

From his home in South Africa, Hugh Tracey — son of a Devonshire doctor — travelled throughout southern, central and eastern Africa every year between 1948 and 1963, amassing his pioneering field recordings. I love the ill-wind singing on here, with low-down accompaniment on musical bow — spooked, in-your-ear, full of foreboding.


10. Duke Ellington – ‘Money Jungle’ (United Artists LP)

A trio album, with Charlie Mingus and Max Roach. ‘Les Fleurs Africaines’ is limpid and haunting, an all-time jazz classic, with magical bass-playing.

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